Download: ter pastora (pdf)
I only really upload these audio files for my sake, but really, these are all computer-generated and are terrible to listen to. Anyway this is a viola solo that’s meant to be played over vocal drones. Please excuse me as I think deeper thoughts than necessary.
So this had been assigned for a while and yesterday had come up before I still had any idea what I wanted to do. The first problem is that I lack intelligence when it comes to strings, so that was a slight hindrance. Bowing slurs and multiple stops still have me confused.
But the larger battle that has been happening within me is what I want my music to do. It may have something to do several of my teachers being composers of new music, but I certainly have changed the way I listen to practically everything by this point. I’m finding that I truly appreciate modern music the way I do with the older tradition, but I think this has greatly affected the way I compose. This solo is very tonal and simplistic, and several months ago I would have been much more pleased with it than I am now. Now I’m not so sure that this style defines any part of me even if I achieved the American folk sound I wanted. There used to be rules to break, now there are no rules. I feel like my ideas have been reduced to randomness.
Yesterday in composition class we split up into groups and had a minute each to write a measure of a piece, then pass it onto the next person. Obviously what I thought was different from what the others were thinking, but more so than I imagined. I completely disregarded any sense of tonality, diatonicism, rhythmic pattern, or even logical establishment of meter, which became obvious as that wasn’t quite what my group had in mind, and the ending result was entertaining but I couldn’t help but feel that perhaps I’m not on the right track after all. After that, I wrote this piece in a completely unadventurous style. Maybe someday I’ll grow to like it again.